▪ “Conch honkers” will display their pucker power — and their lung power — during Key West’s 54th annual Conch Shell Blowing Contest on March 5. In the 1800s, when the local economy was largely based on salvaging shipwreck cargoes, sailors attracted attention by blowing piercing blasts on the “conch horn.” The contest, which was created more than 50 years ago, salutes that seafaring heritage. Contest winners — who are chosen by age categories that range from toddlers to seniors — are chosen for the quality, duration, loudness and novelty of the sounds they make. Most entrants only manage blasts or squawks, but a few produce complex melodies. The Conch Shell Blowing Contest is presented by the Old Island Restoration Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the architectural and cultural heritage of Key West. The contest will begin at noon in the garden of the Oldest House, 322 Duval St. Registration opens at 10:30 a.m. The contest is free to enter and watch. Bring your own conch shell or purchase one at the event. Details: oirf.org or 305-294-9501.
▪ In St. Petersburg, the Sunlit Festival, a celebration of literature — or 10 days of “Litertainment” — will run March 4-13. Highlights will include the Jack Kerouac Birthday Celebration, poetry nights, a literature-themed pub crawl, writing workshops, horror-writers panel, Shakespeare and the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair. Details: sunlitfestival.blogspot.com.
▪ The second weekend of SeaWorld’s Bands, Brew and BBQ festival will feature country music star Scotty McCreery on Feb. 20 and Dennis DeYoung, founding member of the rock group Styx, on Feb. 21. The four-weekend event, featuring live music, BBQ and beer, is included with regular park admission. The festival has two more weekends to run but SeaWorld has not yet announced the remaining performers. In the past, some musicians who had been announced canceled performances due to the controversy over SeaWorld’s captive whales and the film Blackfish, about the killer whales. Details: www.seaworldorlando.com
MIAMI HERALD STAFF AND WIRES